giantsloth: (stagg)
[personal profile] giantsloth
Evander Berry Wall, "King of the Dudes," on the daily drinking schedule and the relative capacities of U.S. drinkers versus English drinkers, late nineteenth century:

"Young Americans nowadays display a knowledge of the relative effects of various drinks which might do credit to a doctor of medicine. Moralists may bewail the existence of such dangerous knowledge, but men will drink, and that being the case, it is certainly better they should drink intelligently and not fall through ignorance, as does the Englishman who comes to America. Through his knowledge of bibulous effects it is absolutely marvelous how much liquor a young American of the world worldly can absorb without suffering any apparent harm. Scorning the old dictum about mixing drinks, he runs the entire alcoholic gamut. He doesn't touch cocktails in the morning, a proceeding which is the beginning of a quickly approaching end with the Englishman in America. The experienced American swell begins the day's imbibitions with a frozen absinthe. He finds that gives tone to his stomach and steadiness to his nerves. He doesn't take two. That would be fatal. He touches no more liquor until an hour after breakfast, when he gloatingly approaches a gin fizz, which he finds so refreshing that he assimilates two more before lunch. That meal he prefaces with a glass of sherry with a dash of orange bitters in it and washes his food down with a bottle of Bass. The afternoon journeyings put him outside of three whiskey punches and one Remsen cooler. Dinner is invited with an old-fashioned whiskey cocktail. At this meal he rarely takes more than one kind of wine. He drinks either a quart of claret or a quart of champagne and follows his coffee with a glass of cordial. After the theatre he drinks as many glasses of beer as his thirst suggests, winding up this attack with a glass of frozen kimmel, which his profound knowledge tells him is a "settler" for beer. Then before turning in for the night he ends the day's proceedings with a small glass of brandy in a bottle of plain soda. A tally list of the day's drinks make a formidable total, and yet the American youth does all this without betraying in voice, walk or features that he has been tippling. His British cousin who attempts to keep pace in the race does not observe the proper order to be pursued, and in the wild conflict between drinks which ensues he is sacrificed."
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